Istanbul International Ballet to host stars

Istanbul International Ballet to host stars

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Istanbul International Ballet to host stars

Organized for four years The ‘Istanbul Ballet Competition’ is one of the most well-known ballet contests in the wo

Istanbul will be hosting the “Istanbul International Ballet Contest.” Ballets and ballerinas aspiring to become stars will be visiting Istanbul.

Applications for the ballet contest have begun. The contest aims to make Turkey more prestigious in the ballet and dance world. For the first stage, the jury asked contestants to send their DVD applications in up until May 2014. The contest will be organized in Istanbul from July 6-11. The competition is expected to deliver a total of 55,000 euros in awards.

The art director of the competition, Nilay Yeşiltepe Güngör, said to Anatolia Agency Turkey has shown its existence in the international arena as a ballet center. Noting that these kinds of competitions also take place in metropolitan cities such as London, Paris, Moscow, New York, Rome and Seoul, Güngör said this competition has taken its place as one of the best in the world and in the international dance arena.

Güngör said the team gives extra importance to present the competition to the world. She said: “This is very important; that’s how the competition became well known in foreign countries. The ‘Istanbul Ballet Competition’ is one of the most well-known contests in the world.”

Presenting Turkey in the ballet scene

After first competition, the contest entered into the federation, she added.

“This contest is very important for Turkey because it presents us [as a country] in terms of ballet,” said Güngör, adding Turkey has a 62 year history of ballet.

Although the history of the art of classical ballet in Turkey goes back only as a far as 60 years, according to evidence, classical ballet performances in Turkey date from about two centuries before, she said. As far as established ballet activities were concerned, the most notable efforts were that of Guiseppe Donizetti (Donizetti Pasha). Donizetti, who was invited to Istanbul in September 1828, introduced the principles of Classical Western music. In addition to this, Donizetti introduced samples of operas, operettas and ballets to the Ottoman Palace, and thus played the leading role in the adoption of these trends into Turkey.

Güngör said that in 1947, the founder of the British Royal Ballet, as well as one of the most outstanding figures of contemporary ballet, Dame Ninette de Valois, was officially invited to Turkey, aiming at establishing Turkish Ballet. The results she attained at the end of her efforts were concentrated on two facts; the superb ability of Turkish children to perform ballet and her deep conviction for the creativity of Turkish artists. In line with this conviction, she opened the first official ballet school with an academic basis, on Jan. 6, 1948 at Yeşilköy, Istanbul. At the end of the examination, 11 boys and 18 girls were admitted to the school as its first students and Joy Newton and Audrey Knight of the Saddler’s Wells Ballet were invited from England for their training. The school moved to Ankara in 1950 and became a division of the State Conservatoire.

According to Güngör, this competition makes the world more aware of Turkish ballet.

As the European Cultural Capital in 2010, hosting such a competition, which is held biannually, is very important both for the city of Istanbul and for the art of dance. Similar to its equivalents all over the world, realization of such a competition in Istanbul, a capital respected as the showcase of Turkey, will play an important role in strengthening Turkey’s position in the international world of the Arts.

New opportunities

This type of a competition, which usually creates opportunities on an international level for young dancers, will encourage Turkish artists and will contribute to the development of a certain ‘competitive spirit’ that is necessary for artistic work.

“We have opened a door for young ballet artists and it’s their choice to use this opportunity in the right way,” said Güngör.

Since 2008 the competition has hosted international stars, such as Yuri Grigorovich, Vladimir Malakov, Margherita Parilla, Charles Jude and Olivier Patey. This year, the competition will once again host ballet stars.

According to Güngör, each award makes the dancers more famous in the world of dance.